2021 Bills

SB 156: Felonizing Package Theft

To track the status of this bill, find it on our Legislation Tracker. Click here to contact the sponsor of the bill to share your thoughts, or click here to email your Senator and Representative about it.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill

Staff review of the legislation finds that it violates our principles and must therefore be opposed.

Stealing packages from another person’s porch or mailbox is already a criminal offense. For packages valued at $500 or less, it’s a Class B misdemeanor which can include up to six months and jail and carry a fine of no more than $1,000. If the value is over $500, it’s elevated to a Class A misdemeanor carrying up to a year in jail and up to $2,500. Those penalties are pretty serious. But Senator Gene Davis is proposing enhancing them with Senate Bill 156 โ€” to a third-degree felony.

SB 156 would allow the state to charge an individual with a third-degree felony if they knowingly, with the intent to deprive another, take, destroy, hide, or embezzle a delivered package. This elevated punishment carries a jail sentence of ten days minimum, and at least a $3,000 fine.

Theft is wrong, and getting a package stolen from your front porch is incredibly frustrating, especially around the holidays. But Utah law already has a mechanism for holding package thieves accountable for their actions. Putting individuals in jail has detrimental impacts on a person’s life, and ten days โ€” missing work, with no communication to the outside world, including family or loved ones โ€” is a penalty that far outweighs this crime.

Harsher laws will likely not act as a good deterrent, as people who are desperate enough to be stealing property from people’s front porches probably aren’t researching the criminal penalties they could face beforehand but rather acting out of desperation.